Category Archives: Hackaday Columns

Review: LinkSprite Mini CNC

It’s a great time to be a hobbyist. No matter how you feel about the Arduino/Raspberry Pi effect, the influx of general enthusiasm and demand it has created translates to better availability of components, a broader community, and loads of freely available knowledge. When people have access to knowledge and ideas, great things can happen. Tools that were once restricted to industrial use become open source, and the price of entry-level versions goes into a nosedive.

As we’ve seen over the last several years, the price of cheap 3D printers keeps falling while the bar of quality keeps rising. It’s …read more

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Posted in candle, cartesian, cnc, cnc hacks, CNC milling, engraver, grbl, Hackaday Columns, hobby machine, inkscape, laser engraver, linksprite, PCB milling, reviews | Leave a comment

Hackaday Links: The ‘S’ In ‘CES’ Stands For Snake Oil

Remember IRDA? Before we had Bluetooth and WiFi, the cool kids connected their computers and printers together over fancy Infrared connections. Yes, your computer probably still has the drivers, but the hardware is nowhere to be found. For good reason, too: we now have Bluetooth and WiFi. This year, at CES, IRDA is making a comeback. MyLiFi is a product from OLEDCOMM that puts infrared connectivity in a lamp. All you need to do is plug an Ethernet cable into a desk lamp, a proprietary dongle into your computer, and you too can reap the benefits of a wireless connection …read more

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Posted in ces, Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links, links | Leave a comment

Bradley Gawthrop: What You Need To Know About Wiring

Wiring — as in plugging wires together and crimping connectors, not the Arduino IDE thingy — is an incredibly deep subject. We all know the lineman’s splice is the best way to solder two wires together, and NASA’s guide to cables and connectors is required reading around these parts. However, there’s a lot that can be said about connectors and cabling, and one of the best people to explain it all is Bradley Gawthrop. He spent the last ten years building pipe organs, and with that comes tens of thousands of relays, solenoids, switches, and valves. All of these parts …read more

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Posted in 2017 Hackaday Superconference, Bradley Gawthrop, connectors, cons, Hackaday Columns, splicing, Supplyframe Design Lab, wiring | Leave a comment

Dust Off Those AM Radios, There’s Something Good On!

If you are into vintage electronics or restoring antique radio equipment you may be very disappointed with the content offerings on AM broadcast radio these days. Fortunately there is a way to get around this: build your own short-range AM broadcast station and transmit curated content to your radios (and possibly your neighbors). There are several options for creating your own short-range AM broadcast station, and this gives you something fun to tune into with your vintage radio gear.

Antique Radios See Daily Use Once More

We see a ton of antique radios turned into Internet radios. Perhaps this is …read more

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Posted in am radio, amplitude modulation, Hackaday Columns, internet radio, mp3 player, playlist, radio, radio hacks, transmitter | Leave a comment

Spectre and Meltdown: Attackers Always Have The Advantage

While the whole industry is scrambling on Spectre, Meltdown focused most of the spotlight on Intel and there is no shortage of outrage in Internet comments. Like many great discoveries, this one is obvious with the power of hindsight. So much so that the spectrum of reactions have spanned an extreme range. From “It’s so obvious, Intel engineers must be idiots” to “It’s so obvious, Intel engineers must have known! They kept it from us in a conspiracy with the NSA!”

We won’t try to sway those who choose to believe in a conspiracy that’s simultaneously secret and obvious to …read more

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Posted in cache, Current Events, Hackaday Columns, intel, Meltdown, rants, security flaws, security hacks, Spectre | Leave a comment

Friday Hack Chat: Assembling In Quantity With MacroFab

Building one of something is easy. You see it here every day, and yes, building a single robot, or a board to convert Segas to HDMI, or an Internet of Things thing is easy. Manufacturing is another story entirely. You’re going to have BOMs to work with, you’ll have suppliers, and you need to deal with assembly, programming, and packaging. Do you even know where you’re going to store all those boxes of parts? Manufacturing is a difficult task, but luckily there are assembly houses and contract manufacturers ready to ease the burden a little.

For this week’s Hack Chat, …read more

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Posted in contract manufacturing, Hack Chat, Hackaday Columns, Macrofab | Leave a comment

The 348,296th Article About Cryptocurrency

The public has latched onto the recent market events with an intense curiosity brought about by a greed for instant riches. In the last year alone, the value of Bitcoin has risen by 1,731%. We’re talking gold rush V2.0, baby. Money talks, and with a resounding $615 billion held up in cryptocurrencies, it is clear why this is assuredly not the first cryptocurrency article you have read — maybe even today. An unfortunate side effect of mass interest in a subject is the wildfire-like spread of misinformation. So, what exactly is a blockchain, and what can you still do now …read more

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Posted in bitcoin, bitcoin mining, Bitcoin price tracker, blockchain, cryptocurrency, Current Events, Hackaday Columns, mining rig | Leave a comment

Entropy and The Arduino: When Clock Jitter is Useful

What do you do, when you need a random number in your programming? The chances are that you reach for your environment’s function to do the job, usually something like rand() or similar. This returns the required number, and you go happily on your way.

Except of course the reality isn’t quite that simple, and as many of you will know it all comes down to the level of randomness that you require. The simplest way to generate a random number in software is through a pseudo-random number generator, or PRNG. If you prefer to think in hardware terms, the …read more

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Posted in arduino, Arduino Hacks, entropy, Hackaday Columns, Microcontrollers, pseudo-random, random, random number generator, random numbers, Skills | Leave a comment

Hackaday Links: January 7, 2018

Whelp, Spectre and Meltdown are the tech news du jour right now, and everyone is wondering: what is the effect of this problem on real hardware in real server rooms? Epic Games patched their machines and found something shocking. The CPU utilization for one of their online services increased about 100%. We don’t know what this server is doing, or what this process is, but the Spectre and Meltdown patches will increase CPU load depending on the actual code running. This is bad for Epic — they now have to buy an entirely new server farm. This is doubly bad …read more

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Posted in ces, coin cell challenge, Hackaday Columns, Hackaday links, Meltdown, RDA5981, shmoocon, Spectre | Leave a comment

Lunar New Year is Coming, Shipping Times May Vary

With one holiday period coming to a close, another looms on the horizon: Lunar New Year. That means three things in my mind: nice weather, a beautiful holiday with great food, and that I had better get all my orders for electronic parts for the next few months out immediately. In fact, I should have done it last month but I’m a bit closer to the source than many of you are.

In any case, Lunar New Year affects our ability to order neat gadgets at a time of year when some of us have received a little money to …read more

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Posted in Chinese New Year, Hackaday Columns, lifehacks, shipping, sourcing parts | Leave a comment